Painted Pumpkins – V2

My grandma totally inspired me last weekend to paint pumpkins. I bought a can of chalkboard paint weeks ago and I’ve been waiting for something to come along to paint it on.

Pumpkins!!

photo 2 photo 1 photo 3 photo 4 photo 1 (1) photo 2 (1)

 

Advertisements

A pretty DIY night stand for a pretty little girl

I am redecorating my 2 year old daughter’s room.  It is full of DIY projects which I am excited to share very soon.

I came across an estate sale near the cottage and picked up this side table for $10.  My in-laws bought the other one for the cottage, which is great, in case we ever want to have a matching pair again one day. They came from the home of an 80 year old couple. Everything in the house was very old and these tables were screaming for some TLC.

I thought it would be perfect for a small lamp and books.  My daughter will love to fill the drawers up with her important stuff.

IMG_2726

What you will need:
Sandpaper – 100 and 180
Hand sander
White spray paint
Mask
Light pink paint
Scrapbooking paper from Michael’s to line the drawers

What you will need: Sandpaper - 100 and 180  Hand sander White spray paint Primer Mask

I absolutely hate prepping and priming when I do a project.  Have I mentioned that before?  I want to see instant results.  Well, I certainly learned my lesson with this project.  I chose a can of white paint and after sanding the table, I began putting the paint on in thin layers.  Literally, seconds after I brushed the paint on, I could see the old wood just soaking it right up.  The same thing happened after coats 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, which gradually got thicker and thicker.  As soon as a coat went on, the red colour of the wood would show through. I have painted furniture before and I really should have known better.  I guess I just thought I would try to cut some corners this time…

IMG_2731 IMG_2728

Finally, I went and bought some primer. After more sanding, I used a grey spray primer which worked right away.  Then, another 2 paint coats on top of the primer, and the table finally looked covered.

However, I was unhappy with the way that it dried because the brush stroke lines were quite visible.  I ended up sanding it with a light sandpaper to take the ridges away and while sanding, I went down to the primer and original wood.  I decided that I loved the way the “shabby chic” finish looked on this piece. I decided to sand the whole thing to create patches everywhere.  Instant results!!
shabby chic
I love the unique shape of the drawer pulls. They are so old, yet so funky looking. I wanted to keep their original look, but at the last minute I decided that it didn’t work, so I sprayed them with white gloss paint. I also painted the back of the little cubby in pink.

before and after

In the end, the things that I would have done differently are:
1. Use a primer.  I will never again try to paint wood without a primer.
2. Use spray paint instead of putting paint on with a brush.  I am working on another piece of furniture for my daughter’s room right now which I am using spray paint for, and it is giving me a much smoother finish.

Shabby chic (pronounced: “sheek”) is a form of interior design where furniture and furnishings are either chosen for their
appearance of age and signs of wear and tear or where new items are distressed to achieve the appearance of an antique.
At the same time, a soft, opulent, yet cottage-style decor, often with an affected feel is emphasized to differentiate it from genuine period decor.

That was a just little shout out for my MIL, who looked at me, puzzled, this weekend when I told her about my plans for the “shabby chic” finish.  She replied with “shabby what?”

Stay tuned for more DIY furniture projects 🙂

 

Fashion Friday

I’ve been shopping at Jacob since I was in grade 9. They have always been great for basic and affordable wardrobe staples and lots of really special pieces too.  The company has had its share of ups and downs over the years and each time, seem to keep themselves afloat.

For those of you who don’t know, Jacob Inc. filed for bankruptcy in the spring and since then, have been closing stores across Canada. Recently, I read that they were granted extended creditor protection, which could allow them to relaunch and keep some of their stores open.  Fingers crossed!  If they can make a come back, it would be fantastic. I must own 100’s of things from this store from over the years.  It would truly be the end of a clothing era for me 😦

If you’re looking for cardigans, pencil skirts, cute summer dresses, or a cozy fall sweater, head over to the Bloor Street location ASAP. The bottom floor is full of older stock and off-season items.  I saw a box of belts the last time I was there for $5!

This is one of my favourite Jacob dresses.  I have it in two other colours, but the navy is by far the most versatile and easy to style.  I wear it in the winter, spring, summer and fall. Tights, boots and a blazer in the winter and heels in the summer time.

Happy shopping and Happy Friday!

photo (1)Dress: Jacob – from a couple of years ago, similar at J.Crew
Shoes and necklace: Banana Republic, Ivie Sandal
Bracelet: Stella & Dot, Jackie Link bracelet

 

A safari adventure

We had a spur of the moment day trip to the African Lion Safari this week.  My friend Amy and her cutie pie baby boy met up with us.

I hadn’t been to the African Lion Safari for decades and it was just how I remembered it.

We started out by watching the elephants swim.  The little pond where they bring the elephants for the half hour event was surrounded by a short fence where people were lined up 5-6 people deep.  It was impossible to get in there and have a good look at the family of elephants.  My four year old finally squirmed his way up to the front for a few minutes.  We hung out for the whole swim and found that everyone left about mid-way through, leaving us with the elephants almost to ourselves 🙂

The ostriches were so ugly that they were kinda cute. The family in the vehicle next to us was rolling down their windows to feed them.  I did not think this was a good idea. They were somewhat mean looking. And as one stood so close to me that I could see inside of his mouth, I realized just how HUGE they really are.  One in particular seemed to really want a piece of me. My 2 year old loved it but I think it scared her older brother.  He looked very concerned as the ostrich pecked away at my window. Amy’s little guy nursed all the way through it!
I thought the giraffes were the most beautiful of all.  They are the super models of the animal kingdom.  They walk with such grace and their colouring is so vibrant. The kids loved them too.
animalsAs we entered the monkey area, I had my window cracked about a half inch (because the A/C in our car is still only half working) and a zebra-striped pick up truck promptly sped over and told me to roll my window up. Other drivers had their windows  down and were feeding monkeys. They did not seem to get into trouble for this. Anyway, the monkeys were really fun to watch.  I think my 2 year old wanted to get out and play with them.

Most of the other animals were pretty lazy – the lions, zebras, kangaroos, and cheetahs were all lounging around as we drove by. Both Amy and I loved it, but I think my kids needed to see a little more action to keep their attention spans up during the driving part.  I had numerous requests from my 4 year old to play with my iPhone as we drove through the safari for the last half hour or so. Having said that, there was so much of the park that we didn’t even explore.  I know my kids would have loved the water park area, which we would have gone to if the weather was warmer.

Overall, I do love this place, although I think the admission price is really expensive. Just make sure to pack your own lunch if you go so you don’t have to pay their high food prices as well.  I loved being able to drive around and watch the animals living in the open area.  The location is also great. It took us an hour and 20 minutes to get there from downtown Toronto.  Not bad at all, especially when everyone falls asleep for a nap on the way home 🙂

 

 

 

8 tips for staying in hotels with kids

We recently went on a three-day trip to Ottawa with the kids and learned that the best part of the trip for them was the hotel, especially the pool.  We could have taken them on a “trip” to Markham or Ajax and just got a hotel with a pool and they would have thought that was an amazing vacation!  So, for the next decade or so, I need to make sure the hotel is done up right when travelling with kiddies!

  1. If you can, splurge for a two room suite. I have found that this doesn’t cost a lot more than a regular room with two queens.  They get away with calling these “two room suites”, but often, they are regular rooms split down the middle by a washroom or a set of French doors. It is so key to have one of these rooms and it has become our #1 rule when booking a hotel for us and the kids. With two little ones who go to bed in the early evening, hubby and I have a room to ourselves and we don’t have to worry about tv volume or lights.  It is so worth it to not have to whisper from 8pm on.
  2. Most hotel bathrooms have a retractable clothes line over the tub, but if not, bring a skipping rope that you can tie up and hang wet bathing suits from.
  3. If the hotel that you are staying at does not have a mini fridge, bring a cooler for snack foods. This is helpful to stock with yogurt, milk, cheese curd, smoothies, (and wine and beer for grown ups!)
  4. Bring a blanket or quilt. On our recent trip to Ottawa, I put a quilt from home on the pull-out sofa for the kids. It’s nicer and more homey feeling. Also if there isn’t a table in your hotel room, put the blanket on the floor and you have a picnic for the kids during snack or dinner  time.
  5. Don’t forget paper plates and cups. We ordered in pizza and sushi to our hotel room. After long days of touring the city and going to museums, we all wanted nothing more than to come back to our room, put our comfy clothes on and order some take out. Most take out restaurants don’t bring cutlery or plates unless you request, so it is always good to have some handy.
  6. Pack some flameless tea light candles. I bring these to put in the bathroom and kids room in case they need to get up in the night and forget where they are.  Plug-in night lights are great as well, but you can pack lots of  tea lights and place them wherever you want.
  7. Don’t forget flip flops or slippers for wearing around the hotel (for kids and you!). Also, for the kids, little robes to wear to and from the hotel pool.
  8. Bring lysol wipes! These are my favourite thing. My husband will tell you I use them at home for EVERYTHING.  I also use them at work for my phone, desk and laptop too. In a hotel room, these are great. I don’t usually worry about dirt and bugs when my kids are playing outside, but hotels are a different story, especially if you have seen this episode of CBC’s Marketplace like I have.  Lysol wipes are great for chairs, door knobs and just about everything that you or your kids touch.
Our "two room" suite

Our “two room” suite

Tea lights

Tea lights

And more tea lights

And more tea lights

I hope that these eight tips help you in your travels.  What are you favourite travel tips for when you go away with your kids?

DIY sandbox

My kids love sand and I’ve wanted to get them a sandbox for quite some time, but I wanted something sturdy (not a plastic turtle) and something that fit nicely in our backyard.  After searching for something suitable, we decided to DIY!

We slapped it together with some extra wood and paint that we had lying around, along with an aluminum piece from Canadian Tire for the bottom.  We made it a family affair and let the kids help paint.  I think my 2 year old still has brown paint under her toenails.

We just need to figure out a cover for it so that our neighbourhood cats and raccoons don’t make a home there overnight.

Putting the wood together

So far so good

Don't forget to sand!  I do not like prep work, I just like to get the job done, so as you can see, I started the painting process and then my husband reminded me, "you need to sand it!"

Everyone wants to help!

The final product

The final product

This was so easy to make and it has already provided the kids with hours of fun!  Now I just need to find a way for the sand to stay out of our house once they come indoors…

 

 

 

 

Anniversary at Angeline’s

Happy second anniversary to my amazing husband! I have loved the past two years and can’t wait until we are celebrating our 20th and 30th and 40th 🙂

I love to look back at our wedding photos and remember our special day at the cottage. One of my favourite reminders of the day is the Canadian Bride website, where our wedding was featured under the “real wedding” section. Click here to have a look!

This past weekend, we were lucky to be able to leave our kids with my husband’s parents while we took off for a night to the tiny town of Bloomfield.  For those of you who don’t know Bloomfield, it is in Prince Edward County, and just happens to be right across the bay from the cottage.  It has some great wineries, some of the cutest little shops, Sandbanks, and of course, some really lovely B&B’s.  One of our favourite places to stay is at Angeline’s Inn.  Angeline’s is an old home that has changed through the years and has been converted into a beautiful inn and restaurant.  The co-owners are brother and sister, whose family immigrated from Switzerland to the Danforth (our ‘hood!) in Toronto.  Angeline’s has such a great story, along with some fun, historic tidbits about some of the rooms, like the Bijou Room, where we just stayed. While doing renos on this room, Alex, one of the co-owners found a small aquamarine stone that had been stashed under the floor boards, so they named the room “bijou”, the French word for gem. I love it there.

One of the things that I love about Angeline’s is the quirky décor.  They have all sorts of neat lamps, rugs and blankets in each room.  Last year, on our first anniversary, we stayed in the Green Room and my husband really liked the blanket that was at the foot of the bed.  It was an orange wool army blanket. Alex told us to make him an offer and the blanket would be ours!  It is a great souvenir from our first anniversary. (This year, our souvenir from PEC was a skim board.)

It was a great place to celebrate our 2nd anniversary!

Some of my favourite things at Angeline's Inn

After we checked out, we drove down the road to Picton, another adorable little town in PEC.  We walked around Picton and looked all the houses for sale and dreamt about what it would be like to move from Toronto to Picton.  We could get so much more bang for our buck compared to Toronto, where people pay close to a million dollars for a postage stamp sized lot. We agreed that small town life could be fun but that we have a great thing going in the city. Maybe one day, in a long time from now,we will retire there!

Surfer hubby

Surfer dude

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Some of my favourite things (besides this handsome guy) from along the main street in Picton…

Bonkers - a pop up store we discovered last summer.  They sell all sorts of goodies from fun signs for your house or cottage to corkcicles

Bonkers – a pop up store that we discovered last summer. They sell all sorts of goodies from fun signs for your house or cottage to corkcicles

Picton Fabric World

Picton Fabric World

Rosehaven Yarn Shop - recently revamped by a new owner.  Great little store that offers classes and even Sock Camp!  My Aunt Kim would love this place.

Rosehaven Yarn Shop – recently revamped by a new owner. Great little store that offers classes and even Sock Camp! My Aunt Kim would love this place. The owner sells various knitted items from local people, including a 92 year old woman who  knits socks. Check them out at rosehavenyarn.com. Adorable!

Books & Company - one of mine and Tom's favourite places to spend some time.

Books & Company – one of mine and Tom’s favourite places to spend some time.

A trip to downtown Picton isn't complete without a stop at the Bean Counter Cafe.  We grabbed some watermelon and s'mores gelato here.

A trip to downtown Picton isn’t complete without a stop at the Bean Counter Cafe. We grabbed watermelon and s’mores gelato for a snack.

There are so many great things about Prince Edward County.  I didn’t even get into the wineries and the antique shops – that will be another post.

I can’t wait to go back 🙂